Counselors Meet for 39th Hindu Heritage Youth Camp (HHYC)

2023 HHYC Counselors: Top row left to right: Rahil Dalal, Ronak Shah, Sarthak Bansal, Ansh Bhandari, Smit Shah, Abhishek Pratap, Pratham Rathi, Akash Tarkunde Row 2 left to right: Sahara Oberoi, Maya Harpavat, Tanish B, Vedant Bhat, Mahika Dawar, Disha, Arjun Wali, Ishan Shah, Anunay Dixit, Shakti Dash, Saaj Patel, Keshav Shah, Parth Dargan(director)* Row 3 left to right: Nitika Veludandi, Prisha Menon, Anjali Asarpota?, Siddhi Bavare, Ana Patwari, Srushti, Pooja Patel, Smeet Parekh, Aneesh Deshmukh, Arnav Mehta, Rahil Choksey, Annika Gandhi Bottom row left to right: Sara Joshi, Krupa Rathi, Radhika Patwardhan, Payal Mehta, Eesha Patel, Ruhi Dalal, Siddhi Bavare, Aesha Shah, Shivangi Dixit (director)



By Maya Harpavat and Aesha Shah

HOUSTON: In the few weeks before school starts, campers and counselors look forward to a special week in the summer. It’s a week packed with games, camp friendship reunions, and learning more about Hindu culture. For some, it is their first time coming to camp, and for others, they have been coming for as long as they can remember.

2023 HHYC camp Directors: Parth Dargan and Shivangi Dixit

Now in its 39th year, HHYC (Hindu Heritage Youth Camp) has embraced and shared knowledge of Hinduism with campers during a week-long summer camp. Led by counselors, many of which were former campers themselves, this is a week where campers can learn more about their culture while meeting friends and enjoying summer camp activities, such as dodgeball, basketball, canoeing, and swimming.

However, HHYC isn’t just a normal summer camp. Each summer, counselors spend their Sundays at Keshav Smruti, learning about Hindu educational topics, brainstorming games, and planning festivals and celebrations for campers. Camp counselors are college students and graduates excited to learn more about their culture, and create an environment for campers to feel welcomed, wanting to come back for years to follow.  Each meeting starts with a progress check in where counselors share new details about various events they are in charge of. For example, counselors who lead the Talent Show Night, will share how they planned to structure the event, how they will encourage campers to participate and try out for the Talent Show, and discuss ways to to support the campers in this event. Once each counselor has shared their updates, our young leaders split up into the camp’s three main groups- Elementary, Middle, and High. At this time, they share their ideas for new or improved activities that would educate and inspire the campers.

Counselors come up with ideas for arts and craft, free rec, education on Hinduism, and other structured activities such as a debate event for the High School campers. Once the camp logistics have been discussed, we move onto practicing Shakha and Yoga. Each week different counselors will volunteer to demonstrate a few Yoga poses or techniques for us all to learn. To close out our meetings, all of our counselors will play two camp games together and find ways we can make them better for our campers!

“I really enjoy the diverse group of ages coming together and I feel like everyone is so passionate to help the camp come together. It’s interesting to see the planning turn into the best week it can be,” says Nitika Veludandi, a second-time counselor at camp.

Each year, the directors, coordinators, and counselors work hard to inspire youth to expand their knowledge of Hindu concepts, culture, and rich values in unique ways.

Counselors are led by camp directors, who are typically former campers and counselors themself. This year’s directors for HHYC 2023 are Shivangi Dixit and Parth Dargan.

Shivangi Dixit is the daughter of Amulya and Smriti Dixit, and recently graduated from Texas A&M University. Her favorite part of camp is the talent show. She loves seeing campers hype up their friends and have fun together with their new and old friends. She decided to become a director because she appreciates the impact counselors make on campers, and wishes to relive the week of camp over and over again. She’s looking forward to “the campsite and the different format in counselor skits. Having a different panchatantra story and moral every night will be exciting and different. I’m also looking forward to the quality of education- some topics have never been taught before, and the fact that camp keeps on growing each year is awesome.”

Parth Dargan is the son of Simi and R. Dargan, and is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. His favorite part of camp is Garba, because he loves seeing camper’s moves on the dance floor. He was motivated to become a camp director because “Serving as President of UT’s Seva Charities pushed me to get more involved with my culture and religion.” He hopes to continue this involvement through camp. Parth is most excited for the new campsite, and revamped educations this year.

HHYC is only possible due to the support received from local business and organizations, such as Hindus of Greater Houston, a banner organization that HHYC runs under. We are thankful to volunteers, who are Auntys and Uncles who work as camp doctors, as well as prepare the amazing food that we get to eat each day. As we get ready to begin the construction on our very own campsite, we would like to invite everyone to follow along on the progress at and join us at our fundraiser on October 1, 2023 at the Gujarati Samaj of Houston.

Campers and Counselors are counting down the days until camp, excited for a week of celebration, learning, and lifelong friendships! Make sure to follow along at!

*This article was written by Maya Harpavat and Aesha Shah. Maya is a first-time counselor after being a camper for many years, and will be a sophomore at Rice University in the fall. Aesha is a returning counselor who is  a graduate of The University of Texas at Dallas and Texas A&M Central Texas University.